Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A two-time graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Hogs' QB concerns remain
Passers inconsistent in spring finale
Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen drops back to pass during the Red-White game Saturday, April 26, 2014 at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Following a 3-9 season, Arkansas fans saw improvement in some areas of Saturday's spring game, but the team's most scrutinized position - quarterback - remains an area of concern heading into the summer.
Returning starter Brandon Allen completed 12 of 21 passes for 108 yards, but struggled with consistency and turnovers in front of an estimated crowd of 30,000 fans at Razorback Stadium. Playing exclusively with the first-team offense, Allen was intercepted on his first pass attempt and again later in the first half on a deflection when he tried to squeeze a pass into triple coverage.
Allen completed 5 of 11 passes for 21 yards in the first half and played well into the fourth quarter. His best drive came early in the third quarter, completing 4 of 6 passes for 37 yards and a 5-yard touchdown to Patrick Arinze to cap an 84-yard drive.
Austin Allen played the game's final series with the first-team offense and completed all three of his pass attempts, including a perfect 33-yard touchdown strike to Cody Hollister. The younger brother of the Razorbacks' returning starter had completed 8 of 14 passes for 94 yards with the second-team offense, but was intercepted twice.
One of those interceptions was returned 31 yards for a touchdown by Rohan Gaines in the second quarter. On the next play, Allen was stripped of the football by defensive end Deatrich Wise and Darius Philon returned the fumble 19 yards for another defensive touchdown.
The reserves, which made up the White team in the game, scored their only touchdown on a 45-yard pass from Austin Allen to Eric Hawkins on the final play of the first half. The Red team, made up of mostly starters, recorded nine sacks, including five by the defensive end Wise.
While the passing game struggled, Arkansas ran the ball well. Korliss Marshall had 99 yards on six carries, including a 59-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Marshall made a cut at the line of scrimmage and easily outran the defense for the day's longest play. The sophomore also had a 5-yard touchdown run in the second half.
Jonathan Williams had eight carries for 78 yards while also playing for the Red team. Williams scored the game's first touchdown with a 4-yard run in the first quarter and added a 33-yard run in the second half.
Alex Collins rushed four times for 12 yards for the Red team in limited action. Collins had a 23-yard run called back in the first half because of a hold.
Quarterback Rafe Peavey played sparingly with the White team, completing 4 of 9 passes for 42 yards.
Keon Hatcher led all receivers with five catches for 52 yards, though he dropped a pass and had one of Brandon Allen's two interceptions go off his hands. Hollister finished with 61 yards on three catches for the Red team.
Drew Morgan led the reserves with four catches for 39 yards and quarterback-turned-receiver Damon Mitchell had three receptions for 27 yards.
The Red team won the scrimmage by a final score of 61-22. In addition to traditional scoring, points were rewarded during an uncontested field goal competition at the end of the first quarter.
Points were also rewarded to the Red team when Canaan Sandy, a special needs fan, was brought onto the field for a 50-yard run in the second half. Players rushed to the end zone to congratulate the 31-year-old from Cave City.